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The Sanford Herald, Jan. 11th 2015

Jan. 11, 2015, noon · 0 comments

‘Serve more and serve better’

Charity Tracker to be rolled out at month’s end

Jan. 11, 2015 @ 05:01 AM

Sanford, North Carolina

Kathryn Trogdon

United Way of Lee County will roll out a new database later this month as a way to connect local nonprofits and churches to better assist those in need by keeping more detailed records on clients and eliminating redundancies.

United Way of Lee County will hold an information session about Charity Tracker, a database that connects local charities to maximize their efficiency, from 10:30-11:30 a.m. on Jan. 27 at Trinity Lutheran Church at 525 Carthage St. in Sanford. United Way Executive Director Jan Hayes said any Lee County nonprofit or church interested in the program is invited to attend, but she encouraged an RSVP to United Way at (919) 776-5823 beforehand.

“What we anticipate on this is that it will be just an incredible resource for our organization, because we know there is redundancies in services,” Hayes said. “The bottom line is serving as many people that we can in the community.”

As administrators of the site, United Way has been piloting Charity Tracker with two of its partner agencies, the Salvation Army of Lee County and Christians United Outreach Center, primarily testing the program during the holidays. Salvation Army, CUOC, N.C. Treasure Chest and Toys for Tots for Lee County tested the new system by making sure every family received toys for Christmas from only one of the organizations.

“It helps us to be better stewards of the donations that we get,” Christians United Outreach Center Executive Director Teresa Kelly said. “And making sure the families that we are helping are the ones that are most in need of the services.”

After the rollout of the program, Charity Tracker Basic would be available to local nonprofits and churches for $15 a month and Charity Tracker Plus would be available for $25 a month. New and interested persons or organizations would also be eligible for a 14 day free trial.

Charity Tracker Basic would provide organizations with basic information, including client data, bulletins and a directory of all the agencies in the network, while Charity Tracker Plus, includes requests, referrals and outcomes.

Kelly said Charity Tracker Plus would be useful to CUOC if someone came in for assistance but also needed help with a light bill. She said if the organization couldn’t help with the full amount, she could send a request to the Salvation Army to assist.

“It’s a way for nonprofits to communicate back and forth about the clients,” she said.

Charity Tracker Plus could also track the outcomes of clients, Kelly said. For example, if CUOC shared information about Job Seekers with a client that was unemployed, staff at the next agency that client visits will see that information and can ask the client if they followed up.

“It kind of just allows all the nonprofits to know what we’re communicating with the families,” she said.

Hayes said the database could also assist clients in other areas of their lives. For example, she said organizations would be able to suggest other services in the community that are available to the client like taking a financial management class or getting their GED, which could lead to getting a job.

“We’re hoping that because we share in these resources we’ll be able to identify other areas where [the clients] need help and provide that assistance as well,” she said. “This is a big picture.”

While she understood cost may be a factor for some organizations, Hayes said she would encourage every group involved to get Charity Tracker Plus.

“It would really be better if everyone involved got the plus so we could all share [information],” she said.

But organizations that get the basic version of Charity Tracker won’t be disconnected from the other agencies, Kelly said, because organizations with Charity Tracker Basic can see messages via the bulletin board.

“This enables member organizations to track their clients, the assistance they receive, where and when they receive it and what they receive,” Anri Flickinger, United Way project coordinator, said. “In turn, this creates transparency between agencies that enables them to serve more and serve better.”

Here's a link to the original article.

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